tonigh tonight on "nightline," conduct unbecoming. from bragging about sex -- >> i'm getting into spanking her. >> you are? >> yeah, i like it. >> reporter: >> to taking cash bribes to assaulting a girlfriend. "nightline" investigates a nationwide rash of state legislators we having badly. is your lawmaker on the list? do you believe in miracles? we travel to a place where people levitate, men lie in roaring fires and the sick go to be healed. the question, could any of this be real? and, man's best friend. for all the guys who like clothes but hate shopping. high tech help is at hand. and that is a "sign of the
times." >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," october 20th, 2010. >> and thanks for joining us tonight. state legislators may not enjoy as much political limelight as those in washington, but they do control more than a trillion dollars in spending and their decisions can have as much impact on your life as anyone in congress. which is why you may be disturbed to discover a surge of bad behavior in state houses across the land. berave your that ranging from creepy to criminal. brian ross takes s shows us just how far the decay has spread. >> reporter: while few have been watching, a california lawmaker was caught on tape talking about his sexual conquests. >> and so we made love wednesday, a lot. >> reporter: texas legislators were seen casting votes for their absent colleague. a new york state senator was
seen assaulting his girlfriend. a massachusetts lawmaker was caught on fbi cameras stuffing a bribe into her bra. and in one state after another, powerful state lawmakers who control hundreds of millions of dollars in spending, have been sent to prison after taking envelopes full of cash from undercover fbi agents. our abc news investigation found that in the last five years, at looegs 80 state lawmakers have been indicted or convicted on corruption charges. >> state officials are absolutely in our sights. we're going to use wiretaps. we use undercovers. we're going to use the exact same techniques that historically we've used when prosecuting organized crime or violent crime. >> reporter: the growing attention to what's happening in state houses came as the country's most prominent state lawmakers gathered for their annual convention this summer in
louisville, kentucky. >> influential group of leaders that we've ever had. >> reporter: and over the course of four days, the influential leaders from 50 states and puerto rico allowed themselves to be wined and dined and entertained by big corporations, labor unions and lobbyists. like bees to honey lawmakers drawn to money and the good times it can buy. all perfectly legal. >> one thing you can say about louisville, kentucky, is that they know how to throw a party. >> reporter: the blowout parties for the state lawmakers are apparently an annual tradition at their convention. but what was different this year was the presence of five graduate school journalists on assignment for abc news with cameras out in the open and tough questions. >> do you think taxpayers back home would like to see their legislators partying it up at churchill downs? >> they probably wouldn't like it but then they don't like most
of the things that we do. >> reporter: the students footage provides a rare glimpse. what watchdog groups say is an unholy alliance that has been forged between lawmakers and lobbyists in the country's state capitals. not something they were'inger to have seen on television. >> if you don't mind putting that away -- >> reporter: one sponsor tried to hide the names of the companies throwing the party. >> could you just not film at all. >> okay. what's wrong with the sign? is that a problem? >> there's nothing wrong with the sign. it's just a private event. >> reporter: again and again, we were told to stop taking pictures of the country's top lawmakers. >> we normally don't allow media at these events because the elected officials get worried. and i know you probably have that on. >> reporter: the parties at night were nonstop. big name country music entertainers brought in to perform. fine kentucky burr bun flowing freely. leading to some unwanted
attention to one of the student journalists who found herself cornered and kissed by a lawmaker from puerto rico. he later said that because he has difficulty understanding english, he was just trying to get close to hear her better over the noise of the party. >> when public officials act in this kind of way, it's -- it really raldzs sraises the question if they are fit to serve and represent their public. >> reporter: ellen miller is the executive director of the sunlight foundation, a watchdog group that follows the money trail to state capitals. >> the soes his kated players play not just ast the federal level but also at the state level. >> reporter: it wasn't all parties at the convention. during the day, there was speeches by national leaders. and sessions on important issues including budget deficits and layoffs. >> given the economy, the states are cutting back and this givens them the opportunity to pool their resources and the
information they have. >> when you go to conference for four days, no one expects me to be 24 hours a day, for all four days in a meeting room. >> reporter: there was also a session on the need for integrity in state government. >> you integrity. integrity, meaning ethics, is a very big part of what's important today. >> reporter: but that message was not heard by some. including this group of alabama lawmakers who were on the golf course at the same time as the ethics panel, hosted by a lobbyist for the state's gambling and bingo interests. >> are you out here golfing instead of attending the conference, or -- >> no, i'm out here -- i have nothing to say. >> nothing to say? >> nope. >> and how is -- you know, how are you -- >> look, if you don't want me to take this to you, leave. >> reporter: but what happened on the golf course and at the parties in louisville pales in comparison to what the students found elsewhere this summer in their investigation.
>> unbecoming conduct is unbecoming conduct whether you are on vacation or speaking on the floor of the assembly. and it's shocking, frankly. >> reporter: in california a lawmaker talking about his sexual conquest did so in an open mike. >> i'm getting into spanking her. >> you are? >> yeah, i like it. >> reporter: the new york state senator caught on tape assaulting his girlfriend was kicked out of office and just yesterday, indicted on separate charges of corruption. in massachusetts, three successive speakers of the house have been indicted or convicted, not to mention the lawmaker who took a bribe and stuffed the cash in her bra. ♪ i was dancing with my darling ♪ ♪ to the tennessee waltz ♪ >> reporter: by far, the biggest state corruption case in recent year s
years was in tennessee. it revealed a shameful culture of corruption inside the state house in nashville. >> six, seven, eight, nine, ten. >> reporter: undercover fbi cameras were rolling as five of the state's leading politicians accepted envelopes full of cash from an undercover fbi agent. >> it may med heartsick every time they gave them an envel rope full of cash. there was no joy in bringing down state representatives or senators. >> reporter: and the price of corruption is high. in new jersey, the fbi found one state lawmaker taking a bribe so droppers could build on the state's bay, one of the most endangeredest wares in the country. >> someone pushes hard enough, they always get their permit, no much it hurts the environment. >> reporter: in an exchange recorded in atlanta city in a morton's stakehouse, this new jersey congressman does business with an fbi operative, offering $10,000 in cash to help get
building permits along the bay. >> let me know what i can do for you, sir. >> well, i want to, you know, get you on my team. a little something to start. >> well, i'll hold onto it but i don't know what i'm going to do with it. >> okay. you know, that's like we spoke about. you know -- >> i'm going to hold onto it and i don't know what i'm going to do with it. >> that's fine. you're my man. >> to be honest with you, i'd do it for free. >> the lawmaker later deposited the $10,000 in his checking account. now convicted and awaiting sentencing, he told kevin morris he didn't mean to take a bribe, it just happened to fast. >> i think we're going to valet parking and he kind of thrusts the envelope on me and, boy, i wish -- you just don't slow things down in your mind like that, because you don't have that criminal mentality, i mean, who thinks that someone is going to try to bribe a public official. >> reporter: federal prosecutors
say it happens all the time. earlier this month, a federal grand jury in alabama indicted four state lawmakers and seven others connected to the state's gambling interests. all have pleaded not guilty. senior justice department officials say similar cases around the country are in the works. our investigation found that state ethics rules vary widely. in some states, lobbyists are not permits to give as much as a cup of coffee to a lawmaker. but in alabama, by contrast, a lobbyist can give a lawmaker $250 a day without even reporting it. that's $90,000 a year. all completely legal. sometimes, bill, the scandal is not what's illegal, but what's legal. >> brian ross with another eye-opening investigation. our thanks to you. and when we come back, we witness speck tackles and find the believers that feel no doubt. could switching to geico really save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance? does a former drill sergeant make a terrible therapist? patient: and that's why yellowmakes
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with its beard-draped yogis and time-worn temples, yand has been a magnet from. but what should we make of the country's seemingly endless supply of miracle workers? many of whom have large and faithful followings? clarissa clarissa ward reports tonight from our series, "faith matters." >> reporter: india, it's a land of gurus and godmen, swamis and saints, where stories of miracles seem common place.
yogis that lie in fires, shrines that banish bad spirits and holy men who go years without food or water. hundreds here claim to be living golds and god depositions, with mir miraculous powers and thousands of followers to prove it. we traveled across this mystical land in search of miracles. first stop the home to this 82-year-old swami, who claims not to have eaten a bite of food or drunk a drop of water in more than 70 years. >> we examined him twice and close monitoring. during those ten days he did not eat anything, did not drink, did not pass urine, did not pass stool. >> reporter: according to modern science, man cannot survive more than three or four days without water. >> scientifically, we have no
explanation. >> reporter: at a tiny temple high in the hills lives the man behind the mystery. after a wait, we are final lip presented to him. "my powers come from yoga and god," he tells me. like hundreds of holy men in india, he seems himself as a living deity. do you still feel strong? he explains that when he was just 11 years old, a goddess touched his tongue, ridding him of the need for food and water. "people in india used to live 100 or 200 years, but then came the influence of western culture," he says. now the only exercise people get is with their remote controls." on a tour of the cave where he lives, which is really more like a comfortable studio apartment, something unexpected catches my eye. what is in the fridge? what is inside? can i see? >> no. in there only water to wash the mouth and teeth.
>> reporter: it seems strange for a man who does not eat or drink to keep a fridge in his room. but not to this man, an outspoken atheist and head of the indian rationalist association. he had a showdown on tv with a swami who claimed he could kill him by uttering mantras. four hours later, he was still smiling. >> none of these people have any special capacity, any specialty, and most of these people who are claiming they are holy men or saints, are con-men. >> reporter: he draws on the example of a guru whose followers number in the millions, spanning all corners of the globe. he is famous for materializing jewelry and holy ash from thin air. but recent videos posted on you the tube appear to show the acts are simply light of hand. a charge he and his followers deny. in a remote village, this holy
man and hisdy sipe ms have arrived for the day. a crowd quickly forms around them. the guru repeats mantras while looking instant lip at the fireplace, which spontaneously bursts into flames. he materializes marigolds from a holy book. and appears to levitate a man. but these are no ordinary holy men. they are members of a team, known as guru busters. their mission is to educate rural people about the trickery many gurus employ. >> this is one thing. this is used for any kind of ritual. >> reporter: ahh.
lefation leffation is no easier. do i look like i'm levitating now? enough. i can't do anymore. oh, my gold, it's exhausting. still, tricks like these don't explain this youtube video, which appears to show this yogi lying in a blazing fire for hours on end. cloaked in a simple saffron blanket, hi is apparently unaffected by the blistering heat. >> he's not lying on the fire. what he does is, he lies here the fire. >> reporter: it's the last stop one of india's holiest cities. home to the sacred river, a mecca for monks, known here as sadus. like this man and his followers. originally from great britain. he items me that any miracle you can see is an illusion. >> if you're touched miracles, you think they're important,
you're missing what's really happening. >> reporter: to some in india, miracles are a way to make a living or a name for one's self. for others, they are dangerous, an enemy of progress and development here. to some believers, they are unquestionable acts of god. and to others, still, they are simply a by-product of the path. but one thing is clear. magic tricks or miracles god men or conmen. there are few other countries in the world, where one sees so many of them. whatever they really are. for "nightline," i'm clarissa ward in india. >> a bit of guru busting tonight. our thanks to clarissa ward. when we come back, tonight's "sign of the times."
omomomes bob ehrlich is desperate and he'll say anything to get elected. negative attacks the media have repeatedly called "dishonest" and "total malarkey." and why can't we trust bob ehrlich? because he raised taxes and fees by $3 billion then denied it... because he says he's for us, but made $2.5 million at a special interest lobbying firm. and ehrlich says he'll cut education again if elected governor. bob ehrlich-- a career politician we really can't trust. imagine denying a pregnant woman the choice of health care providers. only one senator voted with big insurance over pregnant women: andy harris. protecting our bay? harris was the only one to vote against cleaning up toxic waste sites. he always sides with the polluters, one of the worst environmental records in the senate. and harris was the only one to vote against extending education for special needs kids. no wonder his republican colleagues think he's too extreme. we can't afford his extreme ideas. i'm frank kratovil and i approve this
>> a >> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with bill weir. >> for more than a few men, clothes shopping is right up there with root canals and hernia exams. a horrific chore hoisted upon us by women and decency laws. but before you go wander the mall with that 1,000-yard stare of dread, a new online clothing service may be your salvation, and for eric horng, that is a "sign of the times." >> reporter: depp, clooney dicaprio, denzel. some men have style in their dna. these icons of male fashion have designers who come to them. the rest of us have the mall. >> this is about $700,000 worth of clothes. >> reporter: enter trunk club, a men's designer clothing
outfitter, selling style. >> we sell a ton of sport shirts. >> reporter: to guys who hate shopping for clothes. >> i really don't like shopping. >> it makes me panic and sweat. >> it's really exhausting for me. >> reporter: what is it about the traditional shopping experience, where most men fail? >> the shopping shopping malls, they don't kater to men. men would rather be doing something else. when a guy can find what he needs in a quick period of time and feel good about it, he's more likely to do a revamp of his wardrobe. >> reporter: the concept is part fifth avenue, part silicon valley. based on your references, they ship you apparel they selected, and they can eyeball what works and what doesn't on sky. before trunk club dan was the king of the cargo shorts. but after moving to new york from a small town in michigan, this 25-year-old finance
professional decided to up his game. >> did you get a chance to open up the trunk yet? >> reporter: dan's trunk, the box of clothes he received, had everything from jeans to shirts. >> is it restrictive or is that -- >> the buttons are -- >> i need a little bit more room in the chest, probably. >> reporter: but almost everything fit great, including sol much needed new shorts. >> more cloements than i tried on in a year. >> reporter: the fitting lasted a haur hour. no driving to the mall. no waiting in line. while consultations and shipping are free. >> massachusetts. portland, oregon. >> reporter: and customers can send back what they don't want. how much of the clothes do the customers keep? >> the average keeps half. so if we're talking about a transaction size, $500 and $1,000. >> reporter: it's not for the bargain hunter. jeans cost between $140 and $200. and many shirts are priced similarly. though it's about what you'd pay at a department store for these labels.
trunk club does in personal fittings at its office in chicago. as a reporter, i'd like to think i have the whole tailored suit thing down pat. but knowing what to wear after work is where i and many guys need help. >> they're comfortable in sweats and a t-shirt, they're comfortable in a gray suit going to the interview. it's the stuff in the middle that is harder. >> tell me about your image, what you want your clothing to say about you? >> i tend to gravitate toward classic, something that, you know, that's confident, cool. but maybe not too out there. i tried on hand-picked outfits that they said were great for evenings and weekends. >> if you go somewhere nicer, just tuck it in. everything is all set. got you bagged up, ready to go. >> reporter: while most of us will never be as stylish as these icons, this is one option that makes it easier to try. this is eric horng for "nightline" in chicago. >> our thanks to eric horng, the